Cadences in the 16th and 17th centuries


1 [01:40] Canto, Alto, Tenor, Basso are the part names in Italian. In Latin the names are the following: Cantus, Altus, Tenor, and Bassus.

2 [03:43] In the 15th century it was common that the third voice after the tenorizans and cantizans (that we call bassizans, but in the 15th century often called contratenor or contratenor-bassus) would not go to the tonic but leap an octave to be a fifth above the ultima of the tenorizans. See this example:

3 [04:10] It is not obligatory to include a third at the ultima step of a cadence, but if it is included, it should be a major third. This is however is not the case in earlier times; around 1500, at the prime of Josquin de Prez for example, some pieces does end with a minor harmony.

4 [06:00] Cadences that have both the tenorizans and cantizans proceeds by a semitone are rarely found in music before the end of the 17th century in Italy. In modern theory they are categorized as the “geographical chords” (“Italian”, “French”, and “German”).

5 [09:34] Table of cadences terminologies found in treatises (1563-1707) - Bass progressions and Inner rhythmical division.

Comments and sources: The terms shown in this table refer only to bass progressions and to the inner division of cadences. Further historical terms include supercategories such as [dressler:] durae or molles (regular cadence or mi-cadence), and [Gasparini:] di grado and di salto or [Bernhard:] bassirend and tenorisirend (the nature of the bass progressions; by step or by leap). Sources list:

-Gallus Dressler, Praecepta musicae poëticae, MS [THESAVRVS MVSICARVM LATINARVM].

-Christoph Bernhard, Ausführlicher Bericht vom Gebrauche der Con- und Dissonantien [Bernhard I], MS, and Tractatus compositionis augmentatus [Bernhard II], MS.

-Johann Andreas Herbst, Musica poëtica, (1643, Nuremberg) [imslp].

-Bartolomeo Bismantove, Compendio Musicale (1677, Ferrara) [imslp].

-Lorenzo Penna, Li primi albori musicali… (1679, Bologna) [imslp].

-Georg Muffat, Regulae Concentuum Partiturae, MS [imslp].

-Francesco Gasparini, L’armonico pratico al cimbalo (1708, Bologna) [imslp].

6 [14:08] In the example in the video the top voice stays as it is and the other voices may change. This is however only one possibility; there are many ways to make an evaded cadence. In fact, the ultima step can have any combination of notes, as long they comply with the rules of counterpoint.

CADENCES TABLE - bass progressions VS steps: